The old United Theological College at Aberystwyth was built on the site of the old Custom House building on the corner of Pier Street, and what is now known as Marine Terrace.
The college was opened in 1906 and was affectionately known as ‘Theol Col’ to the towns people. This impressive stone building had once been a hotel, and was acquired by local MP David Davies Esquire for around £30,000.
The building was presented to the Calvinistic Methodist Connexion by David Davies in 1906, and by 1910 there were around 30 pupils based at the college.
These students included a number of pupils and students from the Trevecca College in the Brecon Beacons, whom were relocated to the Aberystwyth Theological College upon its opening.
The original purpose of the building was to unite the northern and southern theological colleges of Bala and Trevecca in one single location. After much wrangling the northern college of Bala declined Mr Davies offer, although the option to take up the offer at a later date was open to them. Despite this, the merger never happened and Trevecca took ownership of the college for the considerable future.
The college went on to become the ministerial training college for the Presbytarian Church of Wales and also became an associate of the University of Aberystwyth, whose Old College building was located some 25 metres away.
When students numbers began to decline around the mid 1900′s the college decided to open its doors to those who were also studying Theology at degree level, and a number of courses were offered, including such degrees as a Masters in Theology, and a Bachelors degree in Divinity, although quite what this entailed very few people really know.
The college kept on running beyond the turn of the century, until its closure in 2002. Upon its closure, the large collection of rare and old theological volumes were moved to Lampeter University, where they are still held to this date. The college itself was relocated to Bangor.
However, this exceptional stone building was not left to waste. It has now been turned into offices, and also includes a number of low cost hostel style rooms upstairs, which are mainly occupied by students and those looking for a cheap place to stay.
One night on my way home with my fiance (now my wife) we both looked up at our upstairs room and the light was turned off. Walking along the promenade towards the building, we then looked up again half a minute later, and the light had turned on. This happened on two seperate occasions, and no fuses had blown, and no one else could get into our room as we always ensured it was securely locked. We also occasionally heard footsteps on the stairwell which came out next to our room, and on the landings of the top floor. I can’t say I believe in hauntings and ghosts, but I couldn’t come up with any reasonable explanations for what happened.